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HIV: Only 50% of Nigerian patients on treatment – NACA

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Prof. John Idoko, NACA DG
Prof. John Idoko, NACA DG

Only about 747,000 people living with HIV are currently receiving treatment in the country, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has revealed.
This figure was released in Abuja Wednesday, by an assistant director of the agency, Dr Emmanuel Agogo, at the 2015 Candle Light Memorial organised by the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) with the theme, “Supporting the future of people living with HIV.”
Dr. Agogo who also revealed that the patients were receiving treatments in over 1050 facilities across the country however stated that the number of people on treatment is less than half the number eligible to be placed on treatment.
“There are more people who we think are eligible out there and we want them to be put on treatment. That is why there are lots of efforts to test people and get people to know their status because it is based on their CD4 count that we offer these treatments.
“The Nigerian government has moved on to the most recent guidelines on treating HIV patients where everyone who is eligible based on their CD4 Count from 500 and below should be enrolled on treatment.
“As far as am aware, those issues of availability of drugs and where they can be accessed, has been sorted out because we have over 1050 facilities in Nigeria where if you require ART treatment, it would be provided.”
Also, the National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, Mr Edward Ogenyi, said the candle light memorial is still relevant because AIDS is still a pressing public health concern and threat to development.
“We have to do this to remember our past heroes, people who in spite of stigma and discrimination in the early days of AIDS still came out to declare their status. They advocated to the government and demanded for treatment and today we remember them,” he said.
He added that apart from remembering the past heroes, there is need to support the future of persons living with HIV/AIDS in terms of providing them with treatment, care and protection.
He said that the vision 90-90-90 targets that 90 per cent of Nigerians know their HIV status by getting tested, placed on treatment and have virus operation, a level at which they cannot transmit the virus again by the year 2020.
Earlier, an official of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Gabriel Undelikwu, commended Nigeria’s efforts in combating the AIDS epidemic saying however, there’s room for improvement.
“The vision 90-90-90 tell us that we have potentials and guided by scientific evidence to end AIDS, a public health challenge, I can assure you that the global community has been mobilised to meet this target,” he said.

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